2004-07-23 / Columnists

Historical Views of the Rockaways

The Summer Of 1942
From The Rockaway Museumby Emil Lucev, Curator Dedicated To The Memory Of Leon S. Locke

Historical Views of the Rockaways

From The Rockaway Museum
by Emil Lucev, Curator
Dedicated To The Memory Of Leon S. Locke

Thanks and kudos to Tony Carroll of Long Island for today’s Historical Views. We now have a look at Rockaway Point in 1942, and an insight as to what was going on there during the early years of World War II.

Picture one shows the Carroll family and friends on the beach at the western end of Fort Tilden. This photo also shows the different types of bungalow construction on this part of the point in the 1940’s.

Picture two shows a group of G.I.’s on the local boardwalk at the point headed toward their billet, which was the converted house of Engine Company Number 3 of the Rockaway Point Volunteer Fire Department. The soldiers here patrolled the beaches to watch out for spies or saboteurs (German Nazis) that could have landed on the shore by submarine. They are armed with bolt action 1903 Springfield Rifles and have the old pancake helmets. Notice the scabbards on the belts for the old style 18 inch bayonets.

In the left background, above the shed, notice a concrete artillery fire control tower going up. This was the replacement for the old iron girder type of observation tower at the fort. Similar concrete towers were built on our east coast during World War II. Two watchtowers were also built at the entrance of Jamaica Bay too.

Picture three is of the morning roll call of the Rockaway Point Junior Defense Force (which included the Carroll brothers) who stood morning formation with the troops. Sergeant O’Rourke of the U.S. Army was their squad leader.

All the views shown were taken in the area to the west of the present Silver Gull Club at Beach 193 Street.

Carroll also stated that there were no roads, and cars had to be parked in a cinder covered lot near the Ignatz Tavern close to Fort Tilden. From then on it was by hoof, pulling your little red wagon with packages upon it.

C’mon now, all you old bungalow persons still alive and kicking out there in Waveland. Send us your memories of bungalow life in the Rockaways. In the old days, you rented a piece of beach and built a bungalow upon the lot you rented. When your lease was up, and not renewed, whatever was built on the lot reverted to the landlord! This type of hi-jack existed for many years until it was rectified by the courts – but, in the meantime – many lawyers were kept busy filing suits, and fire departments kept busy putting out fires.

Many bungalows are still around, but most have been converted for year round occupancy. Scores were left to rot by those wishing to make a killing in real estate and eventually were demolished, and only recently a group of bungalows still used, has been placed in the history books.

At present there is a word coming down by parachute, but the updraft of hot air from the peninsula keeps it from landing. The word is “overbuilt.” And when it lands, it will land as hard as hell. But this is not a politically correct statement now.


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